Beware of the iceberg cloud
How often have you heard the cloud debate or gone through it with vendors, partners, users and customers? Yes we’ve heard all about the opex vs capex, cost savings, scalability, flexibility etc.
Yet a perennial question that I ask my customers is – do you know what lies beneath? How prepared are you to be able to reap all the benefits of cloud? Of course it can bring you the value you are looking for, perhaps more than you ever imagined in terms of bringing IT agility to the business…but ROI and TCO calculations can go haywire if you have not prepared your organization for the change.
- What is your existing infrastructure and its support model?
- How do you interlock it with the business demands ?
- Is it a DIY model or you have components of managed services?
- What is the best way for your specific infrastructure to transform?
- Is it slow and gradual or a sudden ‘big-bang style’ change?
- What governance and security policies does your organization follow?
- What are the business applications inter-dependencies and expected changes?
These questions are key indicators to tailor the cloud needs for each company. Even though there may be compelling events like infrastructure consolidation, refresh for end-of-life systems, difficulty to cope with 24 x 7 support… the cloud model you choose will really depend on your responses to these questions and will finally guide you toward Public, Private or Hybrid model, what components of cloud are best suited for you, and by when.
external factors impact your Cloud choice
External factors of compliance, business continuity, data protection response time etc. need to be considered before decision making. While they may look smaller initially compared to the infrastructure transformation needs, one may be surprised where the mistakes may take you if these are not factored well in advance.
We have been working with several customers across Asia Pacific asking them the right questions, and we noted that many organizations with large IT departments have not always dug deep enough before embarking into their cloud transformation. Performing first a readiness assessment taking into account infra, DC, network application licenses and also transition & transformation, service delivery & support and compliance costs is paramount to achieving the business case benefits.
If delayed too long or not comprehensive enough, this is likely to require reassessment, and incur additional costs that may jeopardize the business case.
Cloud adoption in Asia Pacific
What seems most important for cloud customers in Asia Pacific is the ability to transform gradually from their current infrastructure to a new delivery model that will enable ‘agile’ resource planning and provisioning. While transformation is what customers are looking for, they need minimum disruption of existing models and flexibility to adapt to the new cloud model to their business needs. As a result we are witnessing, more often than not, customers looking for a hybrid cloud model. Therefore planning the transition and gradual transformation, and assessing the correlated impact is crucial as this delivery model will dynamically adapt to the business demands.
Cloud offers and service delivery have matured over the last few years. Though in earlier days, enterprises would only consider dedicated private cloud infrastructure to support mission-critical systems and use public cloud for integration & testing purpose, we now see a gradual evolution of this trend. Organizations are today, using both dedicated and virtual cloud infrastructure to such core applications that require stringent security and performance guarantees. Public clouds are still limited to less mission critical systems.
Security sensitive organizations are limiting to a private cloud approach whereas large multinationals, across sectors are opting a hybrid model that allows them selective control over their data. Small and Medium enterprises have picked up much faster to public cloud services. We are witnessing uptake across sectors like shipping, logistics, e-commerce, banking, retail, IT and others.
In a nutshell, cloud computing may appear simple on the surface, however there’s a lot underneath. This is not ‘all or nothing’, ‘now or never’. Cloud is a journey and planning carefully this journey is a must to guarantee its success.
photo credit: © niyazz - Fotolia.com
September 9, 2014Brad Hodson"In a nutshell, cloud computing may appear simple on the surface, however there’s a lot underneath. This is not ‘all or nothing’, ‘now or never’. Cloud is a journey and planning carefully this journey is a must to guarantee its success." I would generally agree with you that most transitions, especially in the enterprise area, are more likened to an iceberg than you know. In fact, they're regular Titanics that need distance and a slowed-pace in order to avoid collision with the iceberg that is the cloud. This isn't to say that cloud is worse or inherently hard to swallow, it just means that there is an established weight behind the organization that causes a fatal inertia if it isn't managed properly. In other words, it isn't the cloud, it's the past and the transition from it. Brad Hodson